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XM PCR Control Program for Mac OS X 49

nsayer writes "I'm a fan of XM Radio. The least expensive XM radio you can get is the XM PCR, which is powered and controlled over a USB connection to a host PC (the audio does not, however, come back across the USB connection. It's just got an analog line-out jack). Unfortunately, the only software they give you is for Windows. But fortunately, it's been reverse engineered, so I was able to write MacXM. At this point, it is very stable and easy to use, and so far as I know it is the only XM radio software that integrates with the iTunes music store (click a button and iTunes pops up with a search for the current song title and artist)."
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XM PCR Control Program for Mac OS X

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  • XM radio (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JelloG3 ( 621113 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @03:22PM (#6668283)
    thanks to the people who love macs, yet another product that people made for windows, and was saved and ported to the Mac =D
    • Re:XM radio (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tackaberry ( 694121 )
      I'd be so much more inclined to subscribe to either XM or Sirius if their stations were available streamed as an iTunes Radio Station

      From what I can see, XM doesn't stream online (only samples of their stations), and Sirius requires that you use WiMP.

      Both of them should be able to offer attractive alteratives to the Live365 stations in iTunes, give the public a chance to try their service, and seriously consider whether they should layout the $ for a car/home/boat receiver.
      • Re:XM radio (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <mdinsmore&gmail,com> on Monday August 11, 2003 @05:13PM (#6669423) Homepage Journal

        I agree 100%. If they've already put together the service, why not make it available to as many folks as possible? Why require this funky dongle, instead of just an MP3 stream that I can get anywhere that I have internet access?

        If the streams were good enough, yeah, I might be willing to pay the $10/month or whatever. But I sure as hell am not going to buy more hardware. I suppose it's there to prevent rebroadcast of their signal--but that would take more work to circumvent than I think most people would be willing to put forth.
        • Re:XM radio (Score:4, Informative)

          by TellarHK ( 159748 ) <> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @07:05AM (#6673754) Homepage Journal
          When you've spent a few billion to put the two biggest commercial satellites ever built into orbit, you tend to get a bit protective of your profit stream. XM is a -great- thing to have, I've had a unit in my car for about the past year. They use something like a 192Kbps AAC stream from the satellite down, if I recall correctly. Very good quality, even on the Bose system in my car.
          • Re:XM radio (Score:4, Insightful)

            by tackaberry ( 694121 ) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:43AM (#6674602)
            I agree completely, it is a great_improvement, over today's commercial radio. With all of the media consolidation, voice-tracking, endless commercials, and super-tight playlists, there is very little out there that I find appealing.

            The station I listen to the most is public-supported WFUV []. Most of the other stations in NYC are horrible. If I'm not listening to 'FUV, I'm listening to my iPod.

            Satellite radio, meets the gap by offering the breadth of programming that is absent in today's commercial radio. However, as a new technology there is a steep adoption curve, and with all of the capital costs involved, subscriber base is the most important measurement. Instead of charging for each unit, they may be better off charging per customer, and allow them to use multiple units (what is their increased marginal cost - I can only listen to one radio at a time). Streaming via iTunes could be another revenue stream. I can sample their service, without having to spend a lot of money for a receiver. If I like it, chances are, I'm more inclined to put a receiver in my car.

            I can't recall where I read it, but somewhere I recall reading that Apple users are more inclined to embrace new technologies, and a great percentage of Apple users have broadband versus Windows users.

            If they are using AAC, there is no excuse to use the best Mac music client.
          • Re:XM radio (Score:3, Informative)

            by wolrahnaes ( 632574 )
            Acidus (yes the same Acidus from the Blackboard stuff) had written a paper on XM Radio. It is available here [].

            He had some thoughts on the format and quality of XM streams.


            The number of theories of the compression schemes that XM uses is around the
            number of Grassy Knoll theories. MP2, MP3, AMBE, AAC, the list goes on and on. A
            few things are known. XM Radio had a contract with Digital Voice Systems, Inc to
            use their AMBE (Advanced Multi-Band Excitation) speech compression algorithm.
            The XM Radio

          • Well, frankly, that's the wrong attitude. They aren't "protecting their profit stream"; rather, they're alienating and diminishing the very stream that they want to protect.

            I'm sure it's a great service. But $70, the inconvenience and compatibility issues of a dongle, AND a monthly? The question is: what are they going to do with these satellites if they fail to get a subscriber base?

            I'm glad you like them, really. I hope they do well; well enough, in fact, to hand Clear Channel's ass to them and d
            • Re:XM radio (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward
              Your remarks are those of a person who obviously hasn't tried the product. XM will have 1.3-1.4M subscribers by year end. Now, it takes a lot more (5M) to break even, but a million cars will be factory equipped with XM for '04, and we know that historically, 70-75% of those million become paying subscribers. Furthermore, we know that "subscriber churn" is in the area of 1% -- low, by ANY standard. The bottom line is it is largely a matter of getting people to try the product. Once they do, they can't g
        • If they've already put together the service, why not make it available to as many folks as possible? Why require this funky dongle, instead of just an MP3 stream that I can get anywhere that I have internet access?
          Because an infinite number of receivers can receive over-the-air broadcasts without any scaling or bandwidth issues. Only a finite number of users can listen to streams, and every single stream adds to the bandwidth bill.
    • Re:XM radio (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm sure you'd be as happy as a pig in shit if someone reverse-engineered some of your mac-only apps and ported them over to windows.
      • Re:XM radio (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nsayer ( 86181 )
        What the heck. I'll bite.

        If I was selling hardware, and someone reverse-engineered it to provide support to an alternate platform, I'd be very happy indeed (as I'm not an anon^H^H^H^Hpig in shit, I can't comment on the comparison). If I would normally sell N units, and having someone else write software that changes that to N+M, why wouldn't I be happy?

        And it turns out that some folks have actually spoken to folks in authority at XM, and they're quite happy indeed to find that they've created a device t

  • Nice interface! Gotta love it when the FREE software has a better interface.
    • Re:Brushed Metal (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I think the developer did a great job with the program. However, I do think the interface could be improved by making it more like a radio interface or like iTunes.

      1. Power should not be a check box. It should be a button with some kind of status light on or next to it.
      2. Mute and Power buttons should be near the volume control.
      3. Volume should be labeled.
      4. Now playing box should be more distinguishable.

      Again, I think the developer did a fantastic job, but there's always room for improvement. If I
      • Re:Brushed Metal (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nsayer ( 86181 )
        2. Mute and Power buttons should be near the volume control.
        3. Volume should be labeled.

        Um, there is no volume control. I think you're looking at the song rating slider.

        4. Now playing box should be more distinguishable.

        Not sure I understand what you're saying here. But let's take this conversation over to the bug and/or feature request section of the project rather than continue here.

  • by paxcirca ( 694737 ) < minus physicist> on Monday August 11, 2003 @04:01PM (#6668690)
    I'm glad to see Windows-only products made available to Mac users. XM Radio, though, isn't in great financial shape [].
    • by Shaleh ( 1050 )
      my issue is I have to pay per receiver. for car and home that is 15.99. Want a portable radio while you work out -- that's another 6.99 too.

      All of these little monthly utilities add up quickly. Plus, there is the concern that it is cheap now but will become more and more like cable as things progress.

      No surprise people are not willing to give up free broadcast radio just yet.
    • Sirius radio (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Sirius [] radio is in much better shape than xmsr. Also, they have commercial free radio unlike xmsr.
      • Sirius doesn't have Frank's Place []. To me, absolutely worth the $10/mo, *alone*.

        The commericials on XM are very short. I've yet to hear one longer than 30 seconds, before it's back to music. The channels I listen to don't have them anyways. =)
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Sorry, this statement is just plain wrong. XM is in far better financial condition. More debt, but they have eight times the number of subscribers, and that's the name of the game. To put it in perspective, Sirius had a total of $2,000,000 (that's right, two MILLION) dollars in revenue for last quarter. That's on 1.75 BILLION in market capitalization (and $250 MILLION in debt, on top of that). Sirius will probably make it, but it will be years before they will break even. XM will clearly cash flow bre
      • Bullshit.

        quoting Andy Ihnatko: [] (answering complaints about his XM preference)

        1) I didn't mention that Sirius, unlike XM, has sixty channels of commercial-free programming. True. That's because Sirius' marketing claim doesn't tell the whole story: that leaves (if I remember correctly) forty channels with commercials. And it's not like the commercial-free ones are without interruptions. You still have to listen to promos and teasers. XM doesn't make any commercial-free claims, though this seems to be more o

  • Nice to see people leveraging Cocoa and Java together.
    • by nsayer ( 86181 )
      I've learned quite a bit from MacXM. If I had to do it again, I'm not so sure I'd use Java. Not that I wouldn't rather use it, it's just that if you're writing Cocoa using Java, you're a second class citizen. There are a number of things that are made a lot more difficult that shouldn't be.
      1. Where is the Java version of runSelectorOnMainThread? That is, in a case where in a Swing app you'd have said SwingUtilities.invokeLater(), what are you expected to do in Java/Cocoa? I had to roll my own NSTimer event to
  • by amichalo ( 132545 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @05:07PM (#6669350)
    This is an interesting application - not that it enables a Mac to use a PC product, nor that it is for the XM radio, though both are note worthy.

    This application is interesting because it is integrated with another application (iTunes). It is the second such "Integrated Applicaiton" application recently, as Quicken 2004 [] will integrate with iCal as well.

    We have had this in part for a while - click a Mailto: tag and Outlook Express launches - but I am talking about more tight integration.

    I am a huge fan of this type of integration. One of my favorite features of Apple's "Mail" is that when iChat is running, and a person who's e-mail address and IM address are in "Address Book" is on-line, there is a little green icon in "Mail" that lets you know so instead of sending them an e-mail, you have the option to click the icon ("iCon") and chat in iChat. Three apps, iChat, Address Book, and Mail, working together to deliver functionality none could deliver otherwise.

    So are we seeing a trend? Is this in kind with other great technologies like Web Objects (what MS has rebranded as .NET) or is this a new phanominon born out of Apple's own developer network?

    Whatever it is, I would like to see more of it. In what other ways could applicaitons be more tightly integrated amongst eachother?

    An Apple a day keeps the BSD away.
    • There are loads of such integration, thanks to the great design of Cocoa and Applescript. My favorite is Clutter [], which automatically retrieves cover art for what you are playing in iTunes (plus loads of other features).

      But you are right in that integration is (hopefully) the way of the future. It's happened more than a couple of times that I wanted to make something, and ended up building it around an existing program like the above.

      And for those who do not know, almost all of the iApps have hooks so

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @06:28PM (#6670216)
    At this point, it is very stable and easy to use, and so far as I know it is the only XM radio software that integrates with the iTunes music store (click a button and iTunes pops up with a search for the current song title and artist).

    I love it. $50 says Apple and XM spent weeks having their Little People negotiate over it all...and this guy's just gone and done it :-)

    • by proj_2501 ( 78149 ) <> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @12:49PM (#6676716) Journal
      I would not be terribly surprised if Apple just paid the guy off and started including this thing in a future release of iTunes, although it would probably take a couple generations before this happened.

      Several additions to Mac OS 7.5 came directly from shareware programs. The Menu Bar Clock was originally SuperClock! which was distributed with a Macworld book. The submenus under the Apple Menu were also available as a shareware add-on, as were the PopupFolders (when you double-click on a folder and hold down the mouse button, the folder opens up up in a window right under the pointer)
      • It would certainly be cool. I think it's a logical direction for Apple to take with support for either flavor of satellite radio given their digitial lifestyle focus.

        I have XM in each of my vehicles and have been waiting on getting one for the house until a device came out that I could control with the iMac I have dedicated to home automation. I ordered one within five minutes of seeing the screen shots of the application...time to dig out the applescript book again!
  • Stream XM Radio (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I forget where the post was saying "If the stream was good enough I would pay $10 a month" "And I could listen to is anywhere on the internet". I think there is a misunderstanding on what this XM radio does. It doesn't stream anything over the net. Period. It's simply a receiver to pick up the sat signal. The software controller sends its request over the USB cable to change channels, etc.- while the line-out goes to your home stereo unit. So in short no XM radio streams over the net :-)
    • If you want to get streams over the internet, Sirius sat radio offers this. That being said, I'll take the XM over anything that I can d/l. No #$^$^# buffering, great song selection, and now that the XMPCR is intigrated into iTunes, I'll be buying one soon (well, as soon as I have some spare $$ sitting around, doing nothing!).